As COVID safety precautions ease, more and more fitness buffs are rekindling their love affair with the gym. So, it is no better time than now to amp up your marketing and entice them with irresistible deals.
But this may be a little challenging considering increased competition with online fitness apps.
Not to mention, people have become accustomed to exercising in their living rooms and communal fitness centers at their apartments. Therefore, getting them to leave hibernation and visit your gym might be a tricky task.
One way you can get people out of their homes and into your gym is through email marketing. Today, we go over ways you can leverage email automation and use it to increase gym attendance.
What is Email Marketing Automation?
Email automation uses a predetermined set of rules to trigger email messages when members take — or don’t take — an action.
Some examples of automated emails include welcome emails when a customer signs up for a mailing list or a reminder when someone checks out a fitness class but doesn’t sign up.
Business owners and marketers praise email automation because it sends the right message at the right time. The automated workflow is essential for nurturing leads and driving gym membership.
Email automation also allows you to target people based on behavior and preferences.
Why is Email Marketing Important for Gyms?
Email marketing works wonders for any business type, but gyms and health brands can really benefit from this channel.
Check out a few reasons why email marketing is so powerful:
Personalized Customer Experiences
Research has proven that personalization can reap huge benefits for businesses. Here are some reasons why:
- 90 percent of consumers find personalized emails appealing.
- 91 percent of consumers are more likely to support a business that provides special offers based on preferences
- A study revealed that when shoppers knew an ad was based on activity on a website, click-through rates increased by 11 percent.
- 72 percent of customers respond to marketing messages that are tailored to their interests.
Email automation allows you to create automated emails that help you connect with customers and guide them through your sales funnel.
High Open Rates
Open rates for gyms and fitness businesses are promising. According to Mail Chimp, the average open rate for health and fitness emails is 21.6 percent. This is great comparing it to the average open rate for all industries, which is 18 percent.
Better Customer Retention
It’s easier to foster an existing customer than convert a new one. With automation, you can stay in touch with existing customers.
Email automation allows you to schedule messages. With this, your audience doesn’t go too long without hearing from you. Automation also keeps your brands at the forefront of customers’ minds.
For example, if you notice that a customer hasn’t visited your gym in a while, you can send an email reminding them to make time for a visit. You can even throw in an offer like 20% off their membership fee.
With this technique, you’re more likely to have repeat customers.
Of course, this is only one example. We’ll get into the other ways you can use email marketing for your gym later.
No Algorithms Involved
Instagram, Facebook, and Google are constantly changing their algorithms, which could prevent your audience from seeing your marketing messages.
However, with email campaigns, you don’t have to fight finicky algorithms. Your messages go straight to people’s inboxes and ensure that they stay engaged with your brand.
Easier to Manage
Other methods of marketing like PPC ads on Google can be confusing — and expensive. Email marketing is straightforward and cost-efficient. All you have to do is craft emails and send them to your audience.
Not to mention, consumers prefer marketing messages through email. So, it makes sense to include email in your fitness business marketing plan.
About 87 percent of marketers prefer email marketing — and there’s a reason why. Email campaigns are known to yield massive returns on investment.
When done right, email marketing can yield an ROI as high as 4400 percent. That’s about a $44 return for every dollar you spend on your email campaign.
Of course, your ROI depends on the size of your subscriber list and the strategies you implement.
Excellent Conversion Rates
The average conversion rate for email marketing is 17.75 percent. This means that 18 out of 100 people who opened an email made a purchase or completed a transaction.
What Are the Types of Gym Email Marketing Campaigns?
What makes gym email marketing content different from other industries is that the ideas and offerings are endless. From workout plans to healthy recipes, you have many options for delivering value to your members.
Check out some fitness emails that will help foster customer relationships:
Nothing boosts your unsubscribe rate than boring emails. Video emails are interactive and fun. And they give you impeccable results.
Emails that contain videos see higher click rates — up to 300 percent higher. People love videos because they’re engaging and easier to process.
Visual aids like video are processed 60,000 times faster than text, and 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual.
Since your business revolves around movement, it makes sense to include videos of what a typical workout class looks like or videos of a personal training session.
When creating the perfect video email, be sure to make it mobile-friendly. Most people view emails on their mobile devices, so you want to make content to be readable in this format.
Weekly Emails/Educational Content Emails
People love to receive messages from you. A 2017 report found that about 49 percent of consumers look forward to getting weekly brand emails in their inboxes.
When it comes to your fitness and health brand, your audience expects weekly content that will help them improve their lifestyle.
For example, you can send your subscribers tips on how to perform exercises properly, how to recover after a workout, and ways they can meal prep for the week.
Below is an email from Adidas Runtastic. It provides a list of post-workout mistakes and includes tips on how subscribers can improve their next workout.
(Source: Mailer Lite)
Goals and Competition Emails
One thing your customers have in common is that they’re working to achieve personal fitness goals. Therefore, you can send emails that encourage them to stay on track.
You can set up a fitness challenge and include a reward to keep customers motivated. For example, your gym can set up a running challenge where every member is encouraged to run 30 miles in one month.
You can send an email at the beginning of the month announcing the challenge. And at the end of the challenge, you would send an email announcing the winners.
Competitions are a great way to keep members motivated, and it encourages them to visit your gym regularly.
Success Story/Testimonial Emails
Everyone loves a good success story. Not only do testimonials spark inspiration, but they boost your gym’s credibility.
One way you can motivate members to visit your gym is by sending weekly testimonial emails. You can have your clients share stories of the fitness challenges they faced and how they overcame them.
Customer Service Emails
Emails are a great way to provide an enhanced customer service experience. You can send customer satisfaction surveys or customer appreciation emails.
Showing members that you value their input and patronage increases customer retention and loyalty. In fact, 69 percent of consumers in the U.S. say that customer service is essential for brand loyalty.
Special Event Email
You’re not limited to producing content about promotions and fitness topics. Is there a fitness event in your area? Is there a special holiday coming up? Hosting a webinar?
Whatever topic or content you think is relevant for your audience, feel free to include it in your email campaigns. This is a way to keep members engaged just in case they get bored with your usual email content.
Virtual Training Email
The COVID-19 pandemic introduced a new landscape in fitness — virtual training. Even with gyms opening again, it seems that online fitness is here to stay.
Emails can help you promote your digital workout offerings. You can include a call-to-action and a link that allows members to sign up for online workout classes.
About 60 percent of consumers prefer to receive branded messages through email than other mediums like SMS. People look for emails from your brand because they expect discounts and other offers.
Sharing promotion content helps keep customers engaged with your brand and the services you have to offer.
Below is an example from New Heights Fitness. In the email, they are announcing a 6-week subscriber package.
(Source: Mailer Lite)
What Type of Emails Should You Automate?
Not all email marketing campaigns for gyms are created equal. Some you can send occasionally, but others are meant for your automation strategy.
Here are some examples of the best-automated emails:
People love welcome emails. These types of messages enjoy an 82 percent open rate — that’s pretty impressive.
Welcome emails get such a great response because people are eager to learn more about your business. And these types of emails usually include a discount code or other offers.
Needless to say, making a good first impression with your welcome email is crucial. And it should be the first email customers receive when they sign up for a class or membership at your gym.
You can also direct them to any other resources your fitness center has — this includes anything from class schedule to your social media handles.
When a customer takes an action, like submitting a payment, they will receive a confirmation stating that their transaction was successful. Often, a confirmation will pop up on the website, but customers enjoy a follow-up email.
Transactional emails reassure customers that things are being handled efficiently. And this is a type of email you must automate.
Customers expect a prompt follow-up. Not sending a confirmation email immediately after a customer makes a transaction may cause confusion about what’s been paid for. This is a recipe for disaster and could decrease customer satisfaction.
Lead Nurturing Emails
Every fitness business has warm leads who’ve expressed interest haven’t taken the next step to becoming a member. Ideally, you should already have their email address, so you can take the opportunity to create an automated lead nurture campaign.
Lead nurture emails are designed to entice potential customers into taking the desired action — in this case, it would be becoming a member of your gym.
Here’s an example:
The first email you would send lays out the benefits of signing up for a membership. This could be in the form of a testimonial email that highlights the success of current members.
Then, schedule an email that offers a special promotion for new members. For example, you could give people one month free when they sign up for a membership.
Having issues with class attendance rates? Send a reminder email. These types of emails keep members engaged and increase activity at your fitness center.
An automated reminder email will go out to members 24 hours before a class begins. Doing this also lets members know that you’re looking forward to seeing them, which makes them more likely to attend.
Birthday or Anniversary Recognition
A way you can personalize your email marketing efforts is by acknowledging milestones, like a birthday or membership anniversary.
Adding this level of personalization to your email lets customers know that they are valued and boosts their connection with your brand. This ultimately increases customer retention rates.
Check-ins With Inactive Members
You may find that some members fall off the wagon and stop visiting your gym. Checking in will show that you value members, and it keeps your brand at the forefront of their minds.
You can set up an automated email to reach out to members who have been inactive for 30 days. You can even include some classes and resources based on their interests.
Tips for Running a Successful Email Marketing Campaign
Now that you’re an expert in the different types of email marketing campaigns, let’s get into ways you can perfect your strategy.
Personalize Subject Lines
As explained earlier, personalized content is a hit with consumers. Emails with personalized subject lines have about 50 percent higher open rates.
Not only can you tailor emails based on their interests and behavior, but you can also include their name in subject lines.
Emails with the recipient’s name in the subject line are proven to boost open rate rates. It even performs well when combined with automation in transactional emails like birthday offers and post-purchase follow-ups.
Use Descriptive But Short Subject Lines
It helps to be direct and descriptive. Phrases like, “Spring Into Savings” or “Fall Into Fitness” are clever, but they don’t communicate value. When writing marketing emails, ensure that you call attention to the benefits of your promotion.
Also, shorter subject lines are favored over longer ones. Many people read emails on mobile devices, so the shorter, the better. We recommend you keep your subject lines no longer than nine words.
Segment Your Audience
Every one of your subscribers has different needs and interests. So, it’s important to tailor messages that are relevant to them. You can use subscriber location, activity, and behavior to segment campaigns. By doing this, you can send the right content to the right people.
Segmenting your audience also helps you create stronger campaigns and build trust with your audience. Segmentation also increases conversion rates.
Use Other Marketing Channels
Leverage other marketing mediums to help grow your email list. For example, if you have an SMS contact list, you can use text messaging to collect email addresses.
You can send a message to subscribers on your contact list asking them to provide their email address in exchange for an exclusive offer or coupon code.
Make Links More Effective
The generic “click here” has a low rate of success. The reason for this is because consumers don’t know where it leads to. Not only that, but it’s not enticing.
To increase click-throughs on your marketing emails, make your link text descriptive and concise.
Conduct A/B Testing
Testing allows you to identify what type of content works and what doesn’t. And it’s an essential element for running a successful campaign.
With A/B testing, you create two versions of your content. Then, your email marketing platform will send each version to a separate set of subscribers in your database.
The content that performs better is sent to the remainder of subscribers who aren’t a part of any test groups.
When looking at the results from your A/B test, pay attention to open and click rates. These are two metrics that will help you determine who effective your content is.
Why is Choosing the Right Email Marketing Platform Important?
Your email campaign is only as good as the platform you use. You want a platform that is efficient in managing your contact database and offers enough features that help you reach your goals.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing the ideal email marketing platform:
You want a platform that seamlessly integrates with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software).
Integration offers a hassle-free solution for managing content and customer data. It also provides a comprehensive overview of performance metrics like open rates and click-through rates.
Reading and Viewing Options
43 percent of people check their emails from their smartphones. So, creating emails that look appealing on mobile devices is essential to your campaign success.
You want to choose a platform that allows you to see how an email looks on a smartphone screen.
Segmentation and Personalization
As we already know, segmenting your audience and sending personalized emails is important. Therefore, you want to choose a platform that allows you to easily group customers and suggest services and classes that are relevant to them.
Pump Up Your Email Marketing
Like physical fitness, email marketing takes practice and repetition. The more you engage in this marketing technique the stronger your business will become.
With email, you have many options for nurturing leads and retaining current members. But regardless of which campaign method you chose, be sure to engage with your audience. The main goal behind email marketing is to interact with your gym members in a human and non-sales-y way.
Co-Founder, Gleantap & Mastera